Online privacy is very important to maintain for the security of internet users' personal data. However, the problem is that platforms are not always the only ones who can spy on users.
If you are not careful when browsing the internet, even strangers with malicious intent can gain access to browse user accounts.
Even though they have tried to maintain privacy, it turns out that there are some unconscious habits that can become a means for perpetrators to carry out their actions.
The following is a complete explanation of five habits that have the potential to make it easier for criminals (hackers) to monitor user activity, as summarized from the New York Post.
1. Accepting Cookies on Various Sites
Basically, accepting cookies means accepting these features to apply to user activity. The main purpose of web cookies is to access and display content that is relevant to user needs.
While these bits can speed up the process of accessing sites, cookies can tell too many details about user activity. The reason is, they are able to store logins, personalization settings, advertising information, and other details.
Fortunately, cookies can be deleted manually in each user's browser settings menu. However, for extra security, users should use Incognito Mode which does not store any history, cookies, site data and information.
To use this mode on Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, press Ctrl + Shift + N (or Command + Shift + N on Mac).
In addition, a VPN can also be used to hide a user's IP address and location. However, make sure not to use a free VPN that is not guaranteed to be secure, and might even harbor malware.
2. Letting Many People Know Email
Email is a digital account that is
rich in information. The large number of unknown people able to send
messages to the inbox has indicated that the user's email has been
Encryption is a method of protecting email from hackers, crooks and
prying eyes. However, major email services such as Gmail and Yahoo do
not provide end-to-end encryption.
Encryption is also difficult to enforce and generally involves all
participating parties. The process is not end-to-end if the user's email
does not enable this feature. Fortunately, Gmail provides a feature for
sending confidential emails that cannot be forwarded. Users can also
set a passcode to ensure messages can only be read by the intended
3. Don't Turn Off GPS or Location Features
A user's phone can tell exactly where their activity has been over the
last few days, weeks, even months. It is vulnerable to being exploited
by hackers or malicious apps on users' smartphones to track location.
Therefore, it is important to immediately disable GPS or location
features when not in use. These locations and features can be checked on
Android and iPhone phones by following these steps.
How to check location settings on Android:
- Go to Settings, then scroll down and tap on Location,
- To stop all tracking, users can disable Use location,
- If you don't want to remove all permissions, tap App location permissions,
- For each app, tap to set the available options settings, i.e. Allow all the time, Allow only when using apps, Ask all the time, or Don't allow.
- The user can also decide whether the app sees your exact location or approximate location.
How to check location settings on iPhone
- Click Settings or Settings, then Privacy or Privacy,
- Select Location Services or Location Services,
- Scroll down to System Service or System Services,
- Tap Significant Locations to see a record of where the user has been,
- Disable the available switch.
4. Accessing Streaming Platforms Too Frequently
Of course, even streaming services will track user activity to find out what shows are liked. This tracking is done so they can recommend suitable content so users don't mind paying.
However, the platform collects the viewing history and ads watched or watched, then shares that data to the basket. That way, ads will continue to send relevant things to users so they are motivated to buy the products offered.
Worse, in some cases, the smart TV used can also collect information about home users. Thus, the tracking feature can be turned off to minimize surveillance activities.
Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) is a visual recognition tool that can identify each ad, show, TV or movie playing on a TV. This includes streaming platforms, cable TV, even DVD and Blu-Ray players.
5. Sharing Shopping and Browsing Activities
Google is capable of tracking every search, click, message, and user request. So, don't be surprised if the platform knows everything we want or are looking for.
Therefore, it is important for users to clear their browsing history and browsing activity periodically.
To do so, users need to go to myaccount.google.com and sign in or go through google.com and click on the circle icon in the top right corner. Then, click on manage Google account and select Data & Privacy in the left menu.
After finding the checkmarks next to Web & App Activity, Location History, and YouTube History, click on each of the options to adjust settings. Disable all options to stop further tracking.
On this page, users can also set the auto-delete feature for future activities. There are several options for the period for deleting messages, namely from 3 months, 18 months, or 36 months.